What You Should Know When Taking NIASPAN
When taking NIASPAN® you may experience a common treatment effect known as flushing. There are some simple tips that may help you manage flushing.
Flushing happens when tiny blood vessels near the surface of the skin open wider. Many patients describe flushing as warmth, redness, itching or tingling of the skin. It mostly occurs on the face and upper body. Flushing feels different for everyone. You may experience flushing when you first begin taking NIASPAN or when your doctor increases your dose. Many patients who continue taking NIASPAN notice that flushing lessens after several weeks.
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What you can do if you experience flushing
or stomach upset
If you are experiencing flushing or stomach upset from NIASPAN, consider these 4 simple tips that may help you:
Take aspirin (up to the recommended dose of 325 mg) 30 minutes before you take NIASPAN to help reduce the frequency and severity of flushing. (Just check with your doctor first.)
Take NIASPAN at bedtime so flushing will most likely occur during sleep. If awakened by flushing, get up slowly, especially if feeling dizzy or faint, or taking blood pressure medications.
Take NIASPAN with a low-fat snack to lessen upset stomach.
Avoid alcohol, hot beverages (including coffee), and spicy foods near the time you take your NIASPAN to help reduce your chance of flushing.
Keep these simple tips with you as a reminder when taking NIASPAN.
What you should remember
Although flushing does not affect everyone in the same way, there are some things you should keep in mind:
- If you are experiencing flushing and need to stand, take your time.
- If you wake up at night because of flushing, get up slowly, especially if you:
- feel dizzy or faint
- take blood pressure medicines
- The flushing may lessen over several weeks with consistent NIASPAN use as your body adjusts to the medication.
Talk to your doctor about how the symptoms of flushing differ from those of a heart attack.
Additional Safety Considerations
- Additional common side effects of NIASPAN include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, increased cough, and itching.
- Blood tests are needed before and during treatment with NIASPAN to check for liver enzyme levels.
- Tell your healthcare provider about any unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, as this could be a sign of a serious side effect.
- Tell your healthcare provider if you have a history of gout, drink large amounts of alcohol, or if you are diabetic or experience increases in blood sugar.
USES for NIASPAN
NIASPAN® (niacin extended-release) tablets are a prescription medication used along with diet when a low-cholesterol diet and exercise alone are not enough.
- NIASPAN raises HDL (“good”) cholesterol and lowers LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides in people with abnormal cholesterol levels.
- NIASPAN is also used to lower the risk of heart attack in people who have had a heart attack and have high cholesterol.
- In people with coronary artery disease and high cholesterol levels, NIASPAN, when used with a bile acid-binding resin (another cholesterol medicine), can slow down or lessen the buildup of plaque (fatty deposits) in your arteries.
- NIASPAN can be used in combination with lovastatin or simvastatin to improve abnormal cholesterol levels when taking NIASPAN, simvastatin, or lovastatin alone is not enough.
No additional benefit of NIASPAN on heart disease has been demonstrated when used with simvastatin or lovastatin over and above that shown for niacin, simvastatin, or lovastatin alone.
In people with heart problems and well-controlled cholesterol, taking NIASPAN with another cholesterol-lowering medicine (simvastatin) has not been shown to reduce heart attacks or strokes more than taking simvastatin alone.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION for NIASPAN
- NIASPAN is not for people with liver problems, stomach ulcers, serious bleeding problems, or those allergic to any product ingredient.
- Severe liver damage has occurred when switching to a long-acting niacin (NIASPAN) from immediate-release niacin. Do not switch between forms of niacin without talking to your healthcare provider.
- Tell your healthcare provider about any unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, as this could be a sign of a serious side effect. This risk increases when NIASPAN is taken with a statin, particularly in the elderly, diabetics, and those with kidney or thyroid problems.
- NIASPAN should be used with caution if you consume large amounts of alcohol and/or have a past history of liver disease.
- Your healthcare provider should do blood tests before and during treatment to check liver enzyme levels, as these can increase with treatment.
- NIASPAN can cause an increase in blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, check your blood sugar levels more frequently during the first few months or with NIASPAN dose changes.
- Tell your healthcare provider if you have kidney problems or a history of gout. NIASPAN can cause an increase in uric acid levels.
- The most common side effects with NIASPAN are flushing, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, increased cough, and itching.
- Flushing (warmth, redness, itching, and/or tingling of the skin) is a common side effect of NIASPAN therapy. It may vary in severity and is more likely to happen when starting NIASPAN or during dose increases. Flushing may get better after several weeks of consistent NIASPAN use. Talk to your doctor about how the symptoms of flushing are different from symptoms of a heart attack. By dosing at bedtime, flushing will likely occur during sleep. If awakened by flushing, get up slowly, especially if feeling dizzy or faint, or taking blood pressure medications.
- If you are taking another cholesterol medication called a bile acid-binding resin (e.g., colestipol, cholestyramine) along with NIASPAN, take these medicines at least 4 to 6 hours apart.
- Some medicines should not be taken with NIASPAN. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including aspirin, any cholesterol medication, blood pressure medication, or blood thinner medication, or any products containing niacin or nicotinamide.
For more information, talk with your healthcare provider.
Reference: NIASPAN [package insert].